Monday 30 November 2020

Remember Who You Were

This year has been a good one for bogging us down in rules and regulations

Tying our hands with what we can and can't do 

That most of us can't even see

But yet have to believe in


It can sap your spirit

But not your soul

Remember who you were

And what was ahead

Remember when we didn't know what lay ahead

And it didn't worry us

When we didn't even think past the next few hours

And yet lived for each day

We are all still in us

And we know deep down there is much promise ahead

But for now it's time to hibernate methinks

Be nice to ourselves and ride the year out quietly

Safely and softly

Sunday 29 November 2020

Suky's Favourite Television 'Programme'


Most evenings I watch the six o'clock BBC1 news.  After the national news has been on for half an hour it's then time for the local news.  Now in this part of the North West of England the local news can only be viewed in SD rather than the HD that the national news has just been broadcast in.  We get a large red screen announcement telling us to turn over to Channel 1 rather than the 101 that is BBC1 HD on Freeview.

Are you still with me?

For the last ten minutes of this HD break a fixed set of snippets of various BBC programmes comes on, and one of them is one David Attenborough's series ...which includes baby penguins.

Suky loves the baby penguins and sits waiting for her little friends to appear ... every night.

I don't have the heart to turn over and watch the local news!!

Sue xx

Saturday 28 November 2020

Simple Meals


I mentioned the other day that I am trying to eat simply, and at the moment I am also trying to eat my way through the contents of the food cupboard.  I moved from the Van to this flat with a ridiculous amount of food in stock and I am determined that it will not be travelling with me again at the start of next year.

I am making meals out of what I find and only buying fresh things to accompany them when I have to.  I found a pack of 'Ready to Wok' noodles in there the other day, so I raided the fridge for all the bitty bits that I had left before I went shopping.  A couple of slices of pepper, two tomatoes, just over half an onion, half a tub of creamy Violife cheese and a good squirt of garlic puree ...

... all combined with the noodles to make a very tasty and satisfying evening meal, with the added bonus that it was all ready within ten minutes.

The noodles are gorgeous and a nice and speedy change from pasta, what have I been missing all these years!!

Sue xx

Thursday 26 November 2020

Christmas is Creeping In


It's starting to look a bit like Christmas here.

I had to call in to Aldi for some much needed supplies and I was tempted in the Christmassy centre aisles by these lovely little battery operated fairy lights on a lightly tinselly garland.  I knew I needed a bit of sparkle in my life and they fitted the bill perfectly.

After all cosy nights in are the best bit about this time of year.

Then yesterday morning the postman brought me a parcel, I had only ordered it's contents the day before but deliveries are coming so quickly at the moment ... and with so many texts and messages to let you know they are on their way and imminent!!

It was a much bigger box than I was expecting, Suky willingly posed to give you a size indicator.

Nestled in amongst lots of wrapping were the two little boxes that I was expecting.

When Suky saw they weren't anything edible she didn't look anywhere near as hopeful, positively grumpy in fact.  😄

I had ... in a moment of madness ... ordered three little miniature Emma Bridgewater items to hang on the Christmas tree that I do not have.  I thought they would just as nice tied to my kitchen shelves with their lovely silky ribbons.  The third item which will take longer to get here, is a little jug that is being personalised with my name ... just in case I ever forget it at Christmas, well you never know!!

In the parcel was this card, if it is of any use to any of you feel free to use my name (Sue Hall) as the code to claim a free Emma Bridgewater mug with any order of over £40. I think it can be used by more than one person but only if you are a new customer to their website.   

Here is the link you need to use to claim your free mug:

I also spotted the Christmas magazines when I called into Booths for some bread.  I used to go mad and splurge on lots of magazines at this time of year, using them for inspiration for my craft and gift business, it was handy that I could claim them as a legitimate business expense but these days I limit myself to one, and it's always one with a free calendar ready for next year.

Lights, Christmas tree decorations, gifts,  Christmas magazine edition, next years calendar ... yep, Christmas is creeping in.

Sue xx

Wednesday 25 November 2020

A Whole New Way of Shopping


This living in a town malarkey is a complete change for me.  

It's been over twelve years since I last lived in a town, twelve years since I've been within walking distance to shops and have the ability to 'nip out' and pick up forgotten items or just casually stroll around the corner for enough food for a couple of days.

And I absolutely love it.

I've been keeping my meals simple since I've lived here, yes there have been far too many 'lockdown treats', little nibbles to have while I watch my afternoon Netflix scary serials.  But I think I'm coming out of that phase and back to the food I love in large enough portions to ward off those nibbles.

I don't know about any of you but too much of 'the wrong stuff' ... not that any food is really wrong, but you know what I mean ... makes me feel a bit yuk the next day.  I think I have simple tastes and a simple digestive system that appreciates them.

I made a bit of a booboo on Sunday while Alan was here.  We went to a local garden centre to combine a doggy walk around Scorton with a Hog Roast bun for Alan's lunch.  I didn't think there would be anything there for me ... the main thing was there was no revolving pig's carcass as it was already shredded meat, phew that was a relief ... but the menu listed Vegan Bratwurst, so as I was absolutely starving I said I would have some.  It came on a bun which the lady serving said wasn't vegan due to being a Brioche which contained some egg, in a fit of tummy rumbling starvation I said okay I will have one, then she said 'there's also a little bit of whey powder' ... I mean bloody hell why advertise something as vegan if it so obviously isn't.  As I said, the rumbling got the better of me and I had one.


Two days later I am still coping the after effects of dairy on my poor unsuspecting digestive system and my sinuses.  Oh well a lesson learned ... again.  Will I ever learn somethings you just cannot do and having even a smidge of dairy if you are dairy intolerant is one of them.

So every day since |I've been trying to apologise to my tummy with tasty, but simple foods and it's making me realise I need to do this ALL THE TIME.

I mean it doesn't take long to rustle up a quick pan of pasta and a fresh sauce.

Adding a couple of types of dairy-free cheese to make it taste lovely and creamy.

Ready in just over ten minutes and super filling ... and more importantly my tummy approves  😄

I'm thinking of turning simple eating into a Challenge over on my other blog starting in the New Year.  Combining living on a restricted food budget and simple eating, going right back to basics ... and walking to the shops for all of my shopping.  I'm off to have a think about it, it might be the only way to keep myself on the straight and narrow, after all usually if I tell my brain something is 'a Challenge' it seems to want to be good and do as it's told.

I'll have a think about it while I chomp through the crisps you see sticking out of my shopping bag in the first photo  😉

Sue xx

Tuesday 24 November 2020

An Addiction to Advent Calendars?


I might not have my Christmas tree up yet like my neighbour, but I am feeling a itch to get myself a little one here at the flat.  Up to now I seem to have been scratching that Christmas itch by collecting Advent calendars.

I have the ordinary sort, you know the ones with just pictures that are revealed day by day throughout December, with no chocolate piece or trinket falling from the door as you open it in eager anticipation of being one more day closer to Christmas ... the sort I had as a child.  

My Dad used to take them off us when the decorations came down after Christmas.  Long after the big reveal of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus in the stable as we opened the final and biggest door on Christmas Eve, and then he would fasten all the little doors back down again for next year.  We never minded, I guess in those days lots of people did that it wasn't such a throw away society back then.

Mine is currently balanced precariously on the little table alongside the Poinsettia that Alan bought me as a joint housewarming/apology for killing your last one gift when he first came to visit the flat.

I'm guessing I know who is in the little stable  😄

I also have a rather splendid jam filled advent calendar .

I just couldn't resist when I found out that Bonne Maman did advent calendars.  To make up for my extravagance I bought Alan an almost as splendid liqueur filled chocolate one.  There's nothing childish about these.

As well as the little doors to open on my nice traditional one and the jams to spread on my toast each day from my jam filled one, I also have splurged a whole £3.70 on this years Jacquie Lawson 2020 Nordic Advent Calendar.  

With doors to 'open' each day and games to play both now and throughout December along with gorgeous Christmas music while you visit your downloaded Advent Calendar, it is just the most perfect way to spend a few minutes each day in the run up to Christmas and a lovely little lockdown ritual.

Oh and I might have also splurged on a few Advent Calendar Christmas cards for my nearest and dearest.  I must get them written and posted out so that they too can spend each morning opening little doors throughout December.

Sue xx

Monday 23 November 2020

My Tiniest Garden Yet

So this is my tiniest garden yet.

It's a little bit of colour on an otherwise drab bit of tarmac outside the door to my flat.   You all know me, I couldn't have nothing at all ... I need at least a pot and my own patch of soil.

And who knows I might even get the chance to sit on the bench one day next to it, although at the moment I would need a waterproof cushion.  But I'm happy enough seeing it every time I approach the front door after a doggy walk or pull up in the car.

I was chatting to one of the volunteers gardeners that work around the town a few days after I moved in and I asked him if all the herbs in the bed he was weeding were allowed to be picked by people in the town, he didn't know.  

In fact he didn't know what most of them were and as he was interested I listed them for him, I mentioned that it was the huge Rosemary bush that I was interested in as all my cuttings from the Van had failed.  He turned round and cut me three small branches off and said with a wink ... 'I was just about to prune that one anyway'.

They have been on my windowsill until this morning sat in a pot of water.

This was the roots last week and by this morning they were all twice as long, so taking two of the pots that my little pink Primroses came in I re-potted them.

I'll see how well they do now, and once I move they will go outside to grow in my new yard ... which will once again be a bit bigger than my current little tin-bath flowerbed.

Sue xx

Sunday 22 November 2020

The Cherry on the Cake


She grew happy 😊

I've not been here long but already I have grown happy.  Living by the river suits me, but I'll only be here for another six months or so.  It is the perfect stepping stone to the future and one that I will enjoy right until the last moment of being here.

The thing is I grew so happy that fate stepped in to put the cherry on the cake.

A house came on the market that will suit us both down to the ground.  It's very early days at the moment as we only viewed it, fell in love with it and had our offer accepted on it yesterday.  But what it has, encompasses a perfect future living pattern for us both and we are in total agreement.


If Alan hadn't needed some more newspaper to start the log burner back at home, and I hadn't gone to Sainsbury's to buy him some milk and spotted the free Property newspapers on stand near the door.  If I hadn't put the papers on the floor in the spare room with the back cover faced upwards and hadn't noticed what was on that cover, checked the details online, forwarded them to Alan who immediately made an appointment to view, just days before someone else was coming back for a second viewing.

Who knows.

We are both very happy at the moment and the sun is shining.  Many cherries on many cakes.

Sue xx

Friday 20 November 2020

Treats for Everyone

It was treats for everyone yesterday.

The plants got a good drink sat in the sink for a couple of hours.  I didn't realise the plug was such a poor fit so I had to refill it a couple of times, but they looked much perkier when I put them all back in their places.  Is it weird that looking at them I thought '|There you can all sit and have a chat and a bit of a catch up' ... yep lockdown madness has set in.  😏😄😆

Suky's treat was another of her peanut butter flavour chews and mine was homemade cheese scones fresh out of the oven with lots of spread and extra cheese on top.

They were eaten whilst watching the last three episodes of The Haunting of Bly Manor.  I highly recommend this, I do like a bit of a scary film or series as long as I watch during the daytime if I'm on my own.  And this has a good story and a really satisfying ending.  I do hate it when you are left baffled or up in the air after investing lots of your time in a series or film.

Brilliant ... for during the day!!

Sue xx

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Take time ...


Remember this today.

I remembered it yesterday when I sat down to watch a two and a half hour long film in the middle of the day.  I felt so rested and relaxed afterwards.  I treated it as a cinema afternoon and halfway through the film had my own 'intermission' with coffee being made and a chocolate bar being dug from the recesses of my tiny fridge.

Suky appreciated Mum sitting still in one space and she relaxed into the deepest of afternoon naps by my side.  Not even the rustling of the chocolate wrapper pulling her out of her slumber!!

We should never be measured by our productivity, we should be measured by our capacity to be all that we can be, when we can be it.  If today is a day when the capacity is low do not beat yourself by setting your bar too high.  

Set it low and rejoice when you get anywhere near the finishing line.

What film did I watch?  

I watched Angela's Ashes and it was a brilliant blast from the past, it's a film I've loved for years but not seen for years either.  

I'm just glad it wasn't raining outside yesterday because there was one hell of a lot of rain in the film!!

Sue xx

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Timelines ... and Herons


Thanks for all the birthday wishes for my grandson Liam yesterday.  He's not a sentimental lad in any sense of the word, last night he put a Thank You on Facebook for all the good wishes friends and family had sent him saying ... 

 'Thanks for all the birthday messages however in my eyes it’s just another normal day, sorry just a year older and still non the wiser, time for a beer though.

 ... he's a chip off a few old blocks there then!! 

Ooh, and THANK YOU for all the comments saying I don't look old enough to be a great grandma, unfortunately I am, although I'm a very young at heart and in mind great grandma.  Here's my timeline -

Engaged at 17
Married at 18
Mum to Simon at 20
Mum to Jason at 26
Nana Sue to Liam at 39
Divorced at 44
Nana Sue to Kyle at 45
Married Again at 47
Nana Sue to Oscar at 49
Great Nana Sue to Mason at 58
Nana Sue to Amira at 59

And if you add 20 years to all my ages that's the age when my Mum was when she became a gran, great gran, and great great gran.  We seem to be very prolific when you see it written down ... and it's all Simon's fault 😉

In other news, me and Suky were doing the doggy walk along the river and towards the weir again this morning, and as usual the Heron was in place watching the water flow over his/her feet.  I was just thinking I have never seen him catch a fish is it actually worth standing there, when guess what ... he caught a fish.  He simply reached down with his long beak and plucked it out of the water and then took off with a swoop to take it over to the grassy bank to eat it.

Is anyone else with a blog of their own having trouble adding to their blog list on the sidebar at the moment?   I have been trying for days to add a couple of blogs to mine and it just isn't working.

Sue xx

Monday 16 November 2020

Happy Birthday to my Grandson

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to my grandson Liam who is 21 years old today.  🎂

Here we are together at his christening party.

A few years later posing with his Dad, my son Simon.

And then a Dad himself ... December 31st 2018 holding his new born son Mason.

We stopped for a visit on our way home from celebrating New Year in Scotland to meet my first great grandson.

Last year, a hard working lad who would do anything for his little family.

Including days out with lots of fun.

After a tough childhood himself Liam has proved himself to be the best Dad any little boy could ever want.

Happy Birthday Liam, you've fitted so much already into your 21 years, here's to the future.

Proud Nana Sue xx

Saturday 14 November 2020

Snippets of Home


A cosy corner.

A messy coat cupboard ...

Slightly more organised by covering a box with some wallpaper.

The kitchen shelves.

The layout keeps morphing slightly but I think I like how they are laid out at the moment.

And the spice drawer right next to the cooker which makes me smile every time I pull it out to use some spices.  It's so much easier and quicker having them here like this.

Things are definintely taking shape at last.

Sue xx